Thursday, 22 November 2018

To Know the Road: Chapter Six - The Road North

To Know the Road | Historical Fiction / Romance
by Annie Coyle Martin

Victoria’s thoughts raced. What would happen? Would she be called down one day and told a husband had been found for her? Would she ever get out of this bedroom, where the walls leaned in over her? From her window she could see three houses opposite and the short lane down to the sea. The house faced east and on one side she could see a lime tree in the neighbour’s garden, on the other side, the street. The late summer had wound wearily away and finally it was September. Every day she checked the calendar, heard the bells of the Catholic Church ring at eight, at midday, and at six; on Sundays she heard the Protestant bell. She listened always for the sounds of the house, but saw no one but Kathleen who brought her meals. She read and reread the same books from her shelf, Jane Austen, Stevenson, Dickens. She was appalled at how accustomed she had become to her prison. Sunny afternoons she watched for a black cat with a white spot on its breast to step delicately round the corner of the house opposite and settle in the sun. She looked at the larch tree in the garden on the other side of the street and saw the edges of its leaves had become dried and crinkled. When the sun moved round to the back of the house and dusk shadowed her room, another day was ending. When rain washed down the window, obscuring the view, she was unbearably sad. At night, she awoke drowned in sweat and with a strange metal taste in her mouth, as if she sucked a copper coin; and she thought they were trying to poison her.


Thursday, 25 October 2018

A Genuine Fake - Chapter One

A Genuine Fake | Fiction: Thriller / Suspense
by Fred Maddox

Tracy was oblivious to the dozen or so people gathered around the frozen earth of the graveside. Or of Father James’ words as he conducted the burial service, his voice nothing more than a faraway drone. She stared vacantly at the solitary old oak tree, just beyond the moss covered dry stone wall which marked the ancient churchyard’s boundary. Its thick, gnarled trunk, scarred from the scores of lovers carving their undying love for each other into its weather beaten bark, giving testament to its decades of claiming that lone position as its own. Its bare misshapen branches creaked and groaned as the chilling north east wind whistled through them. What tales this mighty oak could tell, of the many christenings and weddings and funerals it had witnessed, and indeed, it would be more than likely this magnificent tree had witnessed all three services for the same person.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Spider’s Banquet - Chapter Two

The Spider’s Banquet | Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

…‘Well, gentlemen,’ he said, ‘it does not require the brains of St Thomas Aquinas to guess what you have called about.  I shall be happy to help, but I don’t know that there is anything I can add to what you probably already know from the missing woman’s sister.’  He spoke in a quiet, measured tone of voice, the voice of a man of study and meditation.
‘No, maybe not,’ I replied, ‘but I need to start somewhere, and you are the obvious starting-point, as superior of this monastery.  We could hardly begin elsewhere without grave offence to protocol.’
He acknowledged my little joke with a nod of the head.
‘What would you like to know?’
‘Tell us, if you would, exactly what happened on Saturday, in so far as you have been able to piece it together.  It doesn’t matter at all if you repeat what we know already.’

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Sharks that Walk on Land - Chapter One

Sharks that Walk on Land | Fiction: Historical
by Ron Palmer

Monday, 8th February 1779
The summer had been unusually hot. The old people were claiming that they had known nothing like it in living memory. For weeks now, the temperatures had been extremely high during the day with precious little relief at night. There hadn’t been a cloud in the sky for more than two weeks and the air was so clear and still as to allow the sounds of the farm workers harvesting the corn to be carried for great distances across the fields. Hot it might be but as country folk often do, they could see the advantages as well as the downside in these matters. In this particular case, the harvest could be brought in and stacked. The weather was ideal for that at least. After the harvest, the rain and the cooler weather would be welcome.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

A Figure in the Mist - PART 1

A Figure in the Mist | Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

Her Honour Judge Hines Q.C. looked impassive as the trial entered its second day. The preliminaries had been dealt with, and the prosecution was about to open its case. Court 12 at the Court House in Leeds on that 27th day of July, 2010, contained as many members of the press and public, and almost as many legal staff, as it was physically possible to squeeze in, in the light of Health and Safety regulations, the requirements of good order and the rules that governed considerations of what was seemly in a court of law. The case of Regina v. Purbright had aroused much interest amongst the inhabitants of Monk Fryston village, where the murder of Amelia Walden at the Hall Hotel was the most exciting event since a lorry travelling too fast had left the road and demolished the public urinal in 1931.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

A Time to Prey - Chapter 2

A Time to Prey | Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

When news of the bishop’s death came through, Sergeant Hewitt and I drove out post haste to Hartlebury Castle to begin our investigation.  It was a cool autumn morning with the promise of some warmth later on as the mists cleared. The ten-mile journey on the A449 was pleasant if unexciting. Bevere Lane, Egg Lane, Lock Lane, Sinton Lane and other country roads tempted us to diverge from our chosen path of official business, but Hewitt drove determinedly on until we drew up at the front of the castle. We had hardly had time to get our bearings and admire the architecture, which I had not seen before, when a tall, lanky clergyman, doleful of countenance, stepped out to meet us.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Assembly Room - Chapter One

The Assembly Room | Fiction: Children/YA, Historical, Paranormal
by Bryony Allen

Looking back, Merryn wished she had trusted her instincts when she first saw The Assembly Room. She should have yelled at her father to turn round and take them back to their miserable rented house, in the most miserable estate in town, back to her miserable school. She should have told him that she could cope with her damp, tiny bedroom and the booming of music rattling pictures off her wall. She should have said that she could put up with the rubbish teachers who had given up on the idea of discipline, the gangs of children that had more power than the teachers and the universal mockery of her ambition to be a teacher.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Call Me Valentine

Call Me Valentine | Biography / History
by Derek Rosser

I was nine and a half years old when, on my way home from school, I read the news in large letters on a billboard:
“GERMANS INVADE DANZIG”.
I hurried home to find my parents listening to the radio with worried expressions on their faces. I thought it was all very exciting but, of course, a nine year old could not appreciate what was to come.
We all listened to Mr Chamberlain’s broadcast on September 3rd 1939 telling us that we were now at war with Germany. The papers were full of it. A British Expeditionary Force had been despatched to France and would support the French army in the defence of the Maginot line. The Germans meanwhile were mopping up the Polish cavalry and took about six weeks to reach the North Sea coast and turn their attention onto the French. The construction of the Maginot line proved to be a waste of money and effort since the Germans went around it by way of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Troubled Waters - Chapter One

Troubled Waters | Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

‘With fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed.’
Percy Bysshe SHELLEY
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty lines 51-52

Nothing was established from the early facts, although these were reconstituted in finest detail, except that the discovery made by the owners of the Hounslow Heath was difficult to explain. That Sunday – 2 August 1964 – it had started to rain heavily in the afternoon, and it was still raining. There were a number of boats in the pound above lock 38: two narrow-boats going down-stream, a cruiser and a wooden barge-cum-butty going upstream. A little after nine-thirty, as night was closing in under a leaden sky, a metal barge announced its arrival and entered the pound. The lock-keeper was none too helpful, as he had relatives visiting. With a wagging of his index-finger, he indicated that he would not open the gates. He had hardly gone back indoors when the skipper, whom he knew, knocked on his window.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

IN THE BEGINNING

No Cousin of Mine | Historical / Military
by Derek Smith

The young man sat with his back to the engine of a train heading north from a large midland city. As he had waited on the platform, he had been sure that he would not have been the only one from a city with a population of over a million to be making the same journey that day to the same destination, and confidently expected to see others of about his age waiting for the same train.  Like him, they would have been told that they were to bring only a holdall or a small case containing just a change of underwear and basic toiletries. He had seen no one of this description who appeared to be making the same journey, and so he was now travelling alone in an otherwise empty compartment.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

They’re all foreigners abroad - A

They’re all foreigners abroad | Travel / Humour
by Stuart Wright

A
A bargain holiday
Mr. and Mrs. ‘We got a real bargain holiday’ get right up my nostrils. Within a few hours of arriving at your hotel, I can almost guarantee that a couple will verbally force themselves upon you because they are dying to ask you how much you paid for your holiday. The reason for this is that they waited until the very last minute before booking theirs over the Internet or on Teletext. It’s as if they go out of their way to really naff you off. You paid over a thousand pounds for your two weeks holiday in the four star hotel, but they can’t wait to tell everyone that they only paid three hundred and fifty pounds. When they landed at the airport they didn’t have a clue which hotel they would get, but they struck lucky and got your very nice four star.
Never mind; there’s always next year and let’s hope they get put into a dustbin!